The Quakers Are Coming!*

Friday, July 06, 2007 | 0 Comments

There is a Quaker convention at our university campus all week. They've basically taken over our town - and I have to say that they are a little odd. But I didn't realize the extent of that observation until Tuesday when I was asked to go on a delivery for the pharmacy with a coworker. We needed to bring two wheelchairs and a pair of crutches to the student center for the Quakers.

"Wow," I said to my coworker, "those Quakers must be wild!"

When we arrived we were greeted by an older lady who told me how grateful they were to get the items because people were waiting for them; then she started ordering me around - "Come along. This way. THIS WAY!"

I gave my coworker a look and she giggled.

As the harping woman led us through a huge, milling crowd, another woman suddenly ran up to us frantically. "We have a person down! Over here! Person down!"**

I couldn't help feeling like I had just stepped into a war zone. I stopped for second, wondering if one of the wheelchairs was for this person. The woman must have thought we were nurses since we were both wearing what looked like blue scrubs. The woman leading us just kept walking as if she didn't hear the woman yelling at me, or see the woman laying on the concrete steps outside the building. She turned to see where I was and snapped her fingers at me, "Come along! Come along! Here! Here! We have to go inside!"

I scurried forward leaving the frantic woman standing there looking slightly confused. And I have to say, I was too.

When we got inside it was packed with people making it difficult to maneuver with a wheelchair. As I tried to pick my way through the crowd the woman started barking and snapping at me again telling me to hustle.

Man! I thought, there must be someone who really needs this wheelchair!

We made our way through the building, all the while she was yelling at me to stay with her as she thought I just may wander off if she weren't constantly reminding me.

We reached the other end of the building, the end of the line, at what looked like a greeting area. She told us to put the wheelchairs in an alcove and said, "There, now we will have them when we need them. Thank you so much."

What? ...What?

As we made our way back to the car and past the woman laying on the concrete, now surrounded by EMT, I couldn't help feeling like I was getting cold looks from people who had watched us walk away with the wheelchairs - just so they could end up sitting unused in an alcove.


* This story reminded me of the time that I was at a hostel in Scotland. I had gotten there late and needed to get some laundry done. The guy at the desk agreed to unlock the laundry room for me as long as I promised to be quiet and not let anyone in.

No problem!

I was just finishing up a load when there was a huge commotion outside. When I looked out the ground level window all I could see were hundreds of feet running around. Suddenly the guy who had let me in the laundry burst in frantically yelling, "You need to go! The French are coming! The French are coming!!"

He was so distressed that all I could do was grab my things and follow him running out of the room. He ran ahead to the lobby. I couldn't help but want to see what the fuss was all about. Were we being invaded?

I peaked into the lobby. It was completely filled with children, apparently French children.

** When I was relaying the Quaker story to SSB he started laughing, "Paper dune! We've gat a paper dune!" [Mike Myers - So, I Married An Axe Murderer].

"Yes!" I said. "I was thinking the same thing at the time! It was hard not to laugh. 'Quaker down! Quaker down! We've got a quaker down!'"


Shannon said...

Yikes! That story managed to be funny and creepy at the same time!!! what the hell goes on at a quaker convention? I think it's your duty to find out and report back to the blogosphere...

Evil Spock said...

Reminds of me the Good Samaritan episode on Seinfeld.

You could've been arrested!

Sylvana said...

Shannon, I didn't know whether to laugh or run at the time either. And unfortunately, the Quakers have gone - but they will be back next year!

Evil Spock, I would blame the Quakers and bide my time in the slammer until the day that I was freed and could reap my revenge!!

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Mrs. Loquacious said...

What is a Quaker convention, anyway? Were there displays and booths? Speakers?

I guess any group can have a convention, really.

There was no excuse for the rude order-barking, though. I thought Quakers were supposed to be polite and respectful?

ag said...

I don't have a specific comment other than "hi" and it's nice to be reading your blog.

Elizabeth said...

I have been to seminars (not Quaker ones) at their buildings and I never noticed anything that strange. Fascinating.

Payper dune! Hah!

Sylvana said...

Mrs. L, not sure. I think it was sort of a retreat - but I heard some people saying that the Quakers visited all these schools as a group and then chose the school that their children would go to as a group. I really wouldn't be surprised.

AG, well, you know, it's nice to have you reading it!

Elizabeth, do you find that they raise their hands a lot, like they want to be called on?